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There is much confusion about common terms to describe marquees. Often a diffident manufacturer will use the same name for a completely different component causing great confusion.

For example “Modular marquees! “ - This term in particular can mean anything to different makers for example one manufacturer uses the word to describe how you can put up several separate tents (or modules) then join them together using gutters to form one larger tent. Or by another who's tents are made in bays (or modules) and can be extended to any length. By this definition a traditional marquee is also “modular” as it comes in sections.

Even the word “traditional” marquee has been corrupted. When I use the term I think of the type of marquee constructed with a main poles, side poles and a tensioned roof . The sort of thing used in the UK for agricultural shows and weddings. Then another person will use the same word to describe “traditional framed marquees” I kid you not!

In an attempt to standardise “marquee” English I have tried to describe different types of marquee using unambiguous language that we should all be able to agree on.

"Commercial Marquees"

This term is almost always used by manufactures of lighter “Domestic” structures to make them sound stronger! As is the hint that they are "professional quality ", "premium" etc. Most manufactures / suppliers would only make marquees that were up to commercial standards, so I don't need to point it out. However many of the cheaper imports from the far east which are much lighter weight than the European equivalent are described as such.

These tents offer fantastic value for money (at the expense of European jobs) and can often be cheaper than hiring a heavy weight marquee, however they don't normally offer the same strength as a normal marquee.

When pegged to the ground properly with heavy weight pegs they will stand up to around 50 mph winds that is fine for Summer domestic use, however when wind speeds of over 30 mph are forecast, I would recommend taking the marquee down well before the high wind hits the marquee, as a gust could destroy it and cause injury to any one near by.

If I was in control of an event, I would make sure that any one who was using such a marquee (stall holders and caterers) were aware that they would be unable to use their marquee if there was a forecast for high winds. Or you could just ban them.

Framed Marquees or Clear-Span

These two terms describe any marquee with a frame work made out of wood, steel, plastic or aluminium that does not require a central support. This would include for example a Geodesic dome. However is most often used to describe box section aluminium framed marquees with Cador roofs.

Traditional or Pole Marquees.

The type of marquee normally with a central main (or king pole) and side poles tensioned by guy ropes. The roof is normally made from flat sheets (middles or body's) with end sections that form a hip roof. Larger examples have an intermediate supporting pole called a queen pole.

Traditional Push Up Marquees
Hoist Up Marquees
Laying a marquee roof (or walls) together

Tensile Marquees.

Are similar to traditional marquee in construction however they have curved roof form which resists flapping the most common of this is Pagoda framed marquee.

Tubular Framed Marquees

These have a steel or aluminium frame work which is made from tubes. Generally the framework is built on the floor, the roof is pulled over the top. Then the marquee is lifted onto it's legs.

This type ranges from the domestic with flimsy framework through to the commercial which will withstand heavy abuse.

Aluminium box section frame marquees with cador roof and walls

(often referred to a framed or clear-span marquees)

This type of marquee is the most common framed marquee, but does not have a “proper” name, often referred to by make i.e. a Roder, Tectonics or Custom Covers Marquee. If some one has a universal name for this type of marquee that would not lead to confusion then I would be happy to adopt it!

The frame work is built on the ground in arches that normally pivot on the base plate joint.

Each arch is then lifted. Each bay is connected by ridges bars, eaves, rails and purlings, and cross wires or ridged scissors installed, to make the frame ridged. More bays can be connected together to make a longer marquee.

Back to marquee advice

Tectonics Multispan Marquee
Garla tent "modular"
How to put up a gala "Fusion Marquee"

Hybid Portal Framed Tubular legs Cador roofs

"Curlew" or "Florida" style of marquee

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